Nobody does it better – 007 of the best

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Bond 23 is shelved indefinitely due to ”studio issues” – to fill that void lets take a look at one of the most uneven series of films going…

7.  The Spy Who Loved Me

Roger Moore’s had featured in 2 Bond films already, but they were fairly turgid affairs. 1977’s TSWLM was going all out – Bond was getting an adrenaline shot. Story wise it’s identical to ‘You only live twice’ with subs being stolen instead of shuttles and we have an underwater base instead of a volcano. OTT would describe this film pretty well as OO7 parachutes of a mountain, fights a private army and battles a 7ft chap with no regard for HIV. With a massively increased budget this was the most technically impressive Bond to date and its aged very well. Barbara Bach is one of the best Bond girls playing a sophisticated and deadly Agent XXX.

Best moment: The Lotus literally becomes a submarine. One of the definitive Bond moments

Rating 8/10

6. Goldfinger

Sean Connery’s third outing is the series most influential. Dr No and From Russia with Love were your typical Cold War spy escapade but Bond as we now think of him was born with Goldfinger: the larger than life villain with the larger than life plan, suggestive character names, a car with a few surprises and a devious henchman – the Bond formula.

The film oozes style and swaggering confidence. Sean Connery is the agent every guy wants to be and every girl wants to be with. Bond is now the callous womaniser and actually uses a young lady as a shield at one point. The one liner’s are here too with a particularly effective ‘shocking’ following an electrocution.

Best moment: Anything with the Aston Martin – pure genius.

Rating 8/10

5. For Your Eyes Only

Roger Moore was back for 1981’s For Your Eyes Only. 1979’s Moonraker had literally gone out of this world in pursuit of the Star Wars craze but many felt it was a step to far and it was time to return to a Cold War spy tale. What makes this film stand out is its succession of stunning set pieces – Bond evades thugs in a Citroen Dolly in the most extensive chase sequence to date, he then battles underwater enemies in no fewer than two great sequences, before escaping sharks and launching a daring mountain top raid on the enemy HQ. Director John Glen would helm this and the next 4 entries – the most consistent period in Bond history which produces three entries in our list.

Best moment: Guy attempts to steal Bond’s car. It explodes. Pwnd

Rating 8.5/10

4. The Living Daylights

1987’s The Living Daylights was the series first reboot. John Glen was back but Roger Moore was not. Timothy Dalton would be a Bond far closer to the Bond of Ian Flemming. A reboot was badly need and the gamble paid off.

Timothy Dalton plays a darker Bond, ruthless, conflicted and with a more restrained libido. The story attempts to be the best of both worlds with a down to earth tale based on the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan but still featuring an incredible array of gadgetry with an actual ‘ghetto blaster’. Bond had become a bit too daft with Moore – The Living Daylights gives us the remedy.

Best moment: Bond fights a foe while hanging from a net trailing from a cargo plane. Tense!

Rating 8.5/10

3. Licence to Kill

The Living Daylights had attempted to fuse the old with the new – a down to earth Bond still aided by some out of this world situations and equipment. Licence to Kill was the brave attempt to break the formula and send Bond in a new direction.

Licence to Kill attempts to be gritty and realistic throughout – our villain is an all too plausible drug baron, played by the excellent Robert Davi. Bond is out for revenge, quitting M16 on his way to a bloody showdown in South America.

License to Kill is harrowing in its violence to the extent it was only released unedited in the last 2 years. Guys are torn to bits by sharks, exploded and shredded. This is brutal and for many – very un-Bond. That of course was the point. License to Kill was bold, daring and brilliant.

Best moment: an incredible chase sequence with oil tankers ranks as among the series very best sequences

Rating 9/10

2. Casino Royale

2006 saw Bond rebooted for the second time. Pierce Brosnan was out and Daniel Craig was in. For the second time Bond was going to be toned down – gadgets and world domination were out and, just as Timothy Dalton had tried in his two offerings, Bond was going to be a ruthless killer again.

A Bond film had never seen higher production values – Casino Royale looks breathtaking throughout. Craig brings something new to a very familiar character – he’s more brutal than ever, but falls hopelessly in love for only the second time in Bond history. Craig’s Bond is human.

Best moment: a chase through a building site in Madagascar set against the back drop of the Indian Ocean is exhilarating and demonstrates some stunning cinematography and editing.

Rating 9/10

1. Goldenye

1995’s Goldeneye brings so much of what is good about Bond together that it goes in at no.1. Pierce Brosnan fused Connery’s swagger with Dalton’s psychology and delivered a superb Bond. Goldeneye was the most lavish Bond offering to date and really marked a step up from the cash strapped 80’s offerings. Goldeneye manages to reconcile the timeline, keeping Bond’s roots in the Cold War but ensuring he’s a modern assassin ready for today’s challenges. The plot, involving wayward tech from the former USSR, serves to underscore this transition.  Sean Bean gives us an excellent villain as a rogue MI6 agent and I wish he’d had just a bit more time to play on his former M16 credentials. It’s hard to find any fault with this film, it’s just about the perfect Bond offering.

Best Moment: Bond chases a Russian general through the streets of St Petersburg in a tank. (Yet none of the sequence is even filmed in Russia…)

 Rating 9.5/10

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